11 April 2019|
Posteado en : Opinion
José Manuel Colodrás is a Chief Inspector of Police and Project Coordinator in Ukraine
The project is funded by the and managed by FIIAPP. It is run in five regions that cover what has been called the “Heroin Route”, though in reality there is more than one route involved. Ukraine is the priority country in the Eastern European region.
The aim of the EU-ACT project in Ukraine is to promote an all-encompassing approach to the problem of drugs: to support the work of the institutions responsible for strengthening law enforcement while favouring demand control. Accordingly, the scope of work of EU-ACT covers different sectors of the Ukrainian Public Administration and civil society. A fact easily attested to by simply pointing to the “registered” beneficiaries before the Government of Ukraine: , the Drug Observatory, the Medication and Drug Control Service, the State Tax Service, the and within this the , the Office, the Ukraine Administration of Justice Service, the , the and the of Ukraine.
As stated in its Description of Action (DoA), this project takes an innovative approach to establishing its activities by paying heed to the needs expressed by its beneficiaries. So much so that an agreement was reached with them on the main areas of development of the project in the Ukraine, which are the following:
(2013-2020) and the Action Plan (2018-2020) that develops this strategy in which the EU-ACT project has participated in the design phase highlighting, among other activities, support for the participation of the Ukrainian Delegation in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( ), both at the 61st session (2018) and the 62nd session (2019). Moreover, continuous advice and support has been given in all those legal initiatives related to drug policy. In this regard, the following measures are particularly worthy of mention: regulation of the use of Naloxone to avoid deaths by overdose, the decriminalisation of the possession of small quantities of drugs for self-consumption, the extending of the powers of the Ukraine Drug Observatory and the establishment of alternative measures to prison for minor offences related to drug use.
Furthermore, the project also participates in the initiative and the development of the National Rehabilitation Programme for prisoners with mental and behavioural disorders caused by the consumption of psychoactive substances. This activity is developed in collaboration with the Ukraine Prison Service.
In addition, backing is being given to the creation of an Investigation Coordination Centre for crimes related to drug trafficking between the different Ukraine police agencies, which represents a first step in implementing an intelligence model in the Ukraine that will allow policy makers to make evidence-based decisions. To this end, the best practice or model to be followed has been chosen: the (CITCO) which is attached to
On the initiative of the Ukrainian Public Prosecutor’s Office and with the support of the Ukraine Regional Office, the EU-ACT project launched the Network of Black Sea Public Prosecutors in September 2018 in the city of Odessa (Ukraine), which has already brought together public prosecutors from Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Iran and Ukraine.
The EU-ACT project also supports the integration of Ukrainian administrations into European Union institutions, as well as other supranational organisations. These include the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictions , the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes or the Paris Pact Initiative (PPI).
With respect to the fight against the illegal trafficking of psychoactive substances, criminal organisation leaders are being deprived of the gains obtained from their criminal activity as this is the only way to obtain a relevant and prolonged impact against this activity. The EU-ACT Regional Office together with the Ukraine Intelligence Unit and all the agencies responsible for strengthening the enforcement of the law of Ukraine is developing a method adapted to the country to carry out financial investigations in parallel to the traditional ones in this area.
One of the objectives of EU-ACT is to strengthen the inter- and intra–regional cooperation of the countries in which the project is carried out, thus backing the joint investigation work of Ukrainian police forces and prosecutors with other countries, while at the same time encouraging the exchange of experts between countries, both under the project itself and within the context of the programme.
21 July 2017|
Posteado en : Reportage
The project has a budget of €12 million and will cover 30 countries in four years to combat the destructive and massive heroin business
For decades Afghanistan has been positioning itself as the primary international exporter of heroin, a deadly drug associated with the proliferation of organised crime and a massive business that moves billions of euros annually.
Producing 4,800 tonnes of opium in 2016 and with more than 200,000 hectares under cultivation, according to data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the country is situated at the nerve centre of the zone known as the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran), the origin of most of the opiates consumed in Europe.
In line with the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020, this week the EU-ACT Action Against Drugs and Organised Crime project was launched, in Brussels, as the third phase of an initiative that fights drug trafficking and organised crime in relation to two contexts:
Supply reduction: this involves strengthening legal and transnational police cooperation to attack the major drug trafficking networks.
Demand reduction: efforts are also aimed at prevention of drug consumption and improvement of drug addiction treatment.
Both fronts are essential. As explained by the leader of the project, Thomas Carter, “they are two sides of the same coin: there needs to be equilibrium between repressive policies that pursue trafficking and organised crime and those focussed on demand reduction”.
More than thirty countries
From Afghanistan, the Heroin Route traditionally crossed the Balkans to reach Europe. However, pathways have multiplied and now pass through some thirty countries using various routes:
Balkans Route: This links Afghanistan with Iran and then passes through Turkey. It is the shortest distance and the most direct overland route to European consumption markets. It has been used since the 1980s.
Southern Route: in recent years, large heroin shipments loaded in the ports of Iran and Pakistan have attracted attention.
Northern Route: from northern Afghanistan, heroin is sent to the large consumption markets of Central Asia, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
Caucasus Route: drugs produced in the Golden Crescent are transported from Iran to Turkey, passing through Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
South Route: this passes through East Africa to reach the EU from the south.
The project focusses on more than 30 beneficiary countries with very different needs and five strategic zones: Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, Ukraine, Asia and East Africa.
Spanish Civil Guard colonel and project co-director Manuel Marión highlights the flexibility of the initiative: “One of the most acute needs of Kyrgyzstan is to train prosecutors and police in using special investigative techniques aimed at drugs, such as controlled deliveries”.
Nonetheless, “it may happen that Tanzania needs to learn about the European experience with coastal surveillance, because the heroin arrives on ships” indicates Marión.
Law enforcement and legal action are generally conducted at the national level, which makes it difficult to eradicate a global phenomenon like this one. Therefore the project places special emphasis on coordination between the police forces of all the drug-transit countries. Transnational and transregional cooperation is essential.
A billion-euro business
Tom Carter describes one of the main difficulties in eradicating heroin trafficking: corruption. “We’re talking about billions of euros, and the issue is that the closer it is to the market, the more money is involved and the more expensive the product is. For example, one kilo of opium may cost €2,000 in Afghanistan and over time, as it approaches Europe, this may reach €25,000 to €40,000”.
“It’s a massive and invasive business. It moves so much money that it easily corrupts. A police officer or customs agent in any country outside Europe, for example in Central Asia or Africa, is very tempted when someone offers €200 to not open a truck”. It is a question of investing in development because “in a country undermined by corrupt officials in its institutions, the project becomes useless”, explains Carter.
The key: influencing policies
One of the main objectives of the project is to help the authorities and security forces of these countries to identify and pursue the major traffickers who handle large quantities of drugs.
However, work is being done in parallel to find alternatives to prison, such as drug treatment. “We have neither the budget nor the time to fix everything, but we can contribute our experiences from the perspective of the EU. Perceptions must be changed so that people see a drug addict as a victim and not as a criminal”, explains Carter.
For the next four years, FIIAPP will be managing this project, which has a budget of €12,000,000 funded by the European Commission, and will be implemented by experts from Spain’s Ministry of the Interior, Italy’s Carabinieri and the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA).